This Friday, January 30th, Frank Theatre opens Love and Information, the newest work by Caryl Churchill, at the Ritz Theatre. Churchill is a playwright that has greatly influenced Frank Theatre’s work, as well as many of the playwrights that the theatre has presented. Frank presented a highly acclaimed production of Top Girls in 1990, followed by Mad Forest in 1993 and Vinegar Tom in 2008.
Love and Information is composed of 57 micro scenes – each with their own story to tell. They explore the rapidly changing world we live in, our search for meaning and our quest for connection. The ensemble includes company member Joy Dolo; who has been seen on numerous stages throughout the Twin Cities.
What drew you to theatre?
Local Music Director, Actor, and all around amazing human being Kevin Dutcher asked me to audition for a show called Snowy Off-White and the 8 Little Dudes. I played the character of “Itchy” and that spiraled me into theater. I was incredibly shy and had difficulty communicating with anyone. I found my voice in theater.
What prompts you to audition for someone/something?
I guess the first thing I look for is the story. That is one of the reasons I love Frank Theatre because they always stick to productions that highlight social issues or social justice. Also, if something seems challenging, I’ll usually try it out. And of course, comedy.
Love and Information has a really interesting structure – there are no delineated characters etc. How was the process to create a story (or not create a story) from the text? Did you all try to stay away from that kind of thinking?
Love and Information has been a great collaborative process. One of the goals was to make each scene individualistic to the situation. Audience members will try to create a story for the entire play, but there isn’t one. It is as if you get a glimpse of several different people, in different situations in their lives. So we took each scene with several people reading and swapping in and out to see which sounded true. Then you figure out the relationship and the setting.
Were there common themes the cast kept coming back to?
The common themes that we ran into were how people give, receive, process, interpret, and judge information and where love comes into play within it.
What have you found inspiring lately? What have you seen/heard/read that made you want to go out and create art?
Love and Information has made me really look at the everyday conversations between people. We all have overheard a conversation on the bus, in the office, over the phone, in line at a movie: Person A says something Person B replies appropriately. I’ve been studying the dialogue of the people around me. That has given me a bunch of inspiration for different characters in this show. I’ve also been stretching my improv and sketch comedy muscles as of late. Not sure where that came from, but it’s been fun.
What has been the biggest challenge of Love and Information?
The biggest challenge would be jumping into the scene. There are over 50 scenes, with hundreds of characters with different contexts and situations. To add to the insanity, some scenes are 4 lines and some are several pages. Jumping into the scene with the appropriate energy and focus has been challenging and incredibly rewarding.
If you were stuck in a Lifeboat what would you need to have with you? (you’ve got food and water)
Probably my dragons or bubbles game I play on my phone. It’s just the appropriate amount of mind numbing good fun to relax at the end of the day. Or to avoid realizing I’m stuck on a life boat.
Performances of Love and Information are January 30 – February 22, Thurs-Sat at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. There is one matinee on Wednesday, Feb 11 at noon. Tickets are $22-25 and can be purchased now at www.franktheatre.org or (612) 724 3760.